The Round-up: It was Sunday night and warm light filled the room as darkness sat outside the window and watched


Here is some very good new music.


Danny Fox Trio – The Great Nostalgist (Hot Cup Records)

Thoughtfulness at high speeds, of notes hanging in the air even when the space between them is ever so slight.  That’s the lingering impression made on this straight-ahead session from the trio of pianist Danny Fox, bassist Chris van Voorst and drummer Max Goldman.  The brisk pace never gets in the way of an articulate voicing of melody or its eventual development into an engrossing conversation.  This session is in the mold of a standard modern piano trio recording, but the little turns of phrase and keen modulations of pacing have the great impact of raising things up to something outside the accepted archetype.  Those nuanced differences are one way to make cerebral music extroverted and fun.

Artist site | Buy:  Amazon


Wooley/Dumoulin/Flaten/Verbruggen – kaPSalon (Ratrecords)

“This music,” Buster Keaton, reincarnated, would announce. “It will be the soundtrack for my next silent film.”  And why not?  This live performance recording by trumpeter Nate Wooley, pianist Jozef Dumoulin, double bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and percussionist Teun Verbruggen is all about emoting through motion.  Idiosyncratic and volatile as hell, the music signifies the personality quirks of characters and their physical manifestations… the relation of many things that defy the need for words.  And though wholly avant-garde in nature, the blues and jazz bubble up to the surface frequently and at just the right moments, making a resolute statement that this wild, untamed music willingly tethers itself loosely to music of the past.

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Tamaya Honda – ICTUS Trio (Song X Jazz)

Much in that way Paul Motian could imply the whisper of a hurricane during the recitation of a lullaby, the trio of drummer Tamaya Honda, bassist Takashi Sugawa and pianist Koichi Sato establish an appealing balance between serenity and volatility.  This modern piano trio recording is perfect for a rainy day, and that means for when it’s a torrential downpour or when the comforting patter of raindrops soothes the soul.  The Motian comparison isn’t happenstance.  This album is dedicated to Masabumi Kikuchi, a pianist who thrived in exactly this kind of environment, and, logically, collaborated with Motian himself on a number of recordings.  Carla Bley compositions comprise nearly half of the album tracks, which adds an interesting quality, as does Sugawa switching over to cello.  Music from Tokyo.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp


Ed Jones – For Your Ears Only (Impossible Ark)

There’s something particularly resonant about this straight-ahead release from Ed Jones.  Perhaps it’s the beautifully crafted melodies or perhaps it’s how the saxophonist’s quartet keeps referencing it as the pace and distance from its introduction increases, and maybe it’s the way a patient exhalation of the melody contrasts with a galloping tempo.  But whatever the reason, this is one of those albums that sparkles like stars with each volley of notes, each turn of phrase, each expression of melody.  Pianist Ross Stanley, bassist Riann Vosloo and drummer Tim Giles round out the quartet, plus a guest spot from vocalist Brigitte Beraha.  Music from London.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  BandcampAmazon


The Housewarming Project – at_home/at_play (Self-Produced)

There’s a special kind of chemistry to the trio of pianist Jeremy Siskind, vocalist Nancy Harms and multi-reedist Lucas Pino.  There’s a sense of musicians fated to come together because it was willed by elemental forces.  Their 2012 release Finger-Songwriter was one of the very best things to come out that year, and since that time, the trio has released another recording and been on a dedicated tour of living room shows.  Their new release compiles some of the moments from those shows, and it displays that the magic conjured up by the three is nowhere even close to waning.  Harms’s smoky delivery is a perfect match to Pino’s languid expressions of melody, especially when he switches over to bass clarinet.  On piano, Siskind’s accompaniment is almost reverential.  It all plays out like moonlight on a small patch of earth, where everything inside the beams seems more alive than anything else on the planet and nobody wants to move or speak for fear of breaking the spell of enchantment.

Artist site | Listen | Buy:  Bandcamp